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Israeli group barred from Jordan because of Jewish headgear

Incident is second of its kind in past 12 months in which Hashemite authorities deny Israelis entry because of Jewish dress

View of the Jordan River Crossing, an international border crossing between Irbid, Jordan and Beit She'an, Israel, August 05, 2013. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)
View of the Jordan River Crossing, an international border crossing between Irbid, Jordan and Beit She'an, Israel, August 05, 2013. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)

Jordanian border authorities reportedly barred a group of Israeli tourists from entering the country last weekend because they were wearing Jewish skullcaps.

The group was reportedly planning to travel to the Tomb of Aaron, the supposed burial place of the brother of Moses from the Bible, located near Petra.

There was no immediate explanation given by Jordan for denying the group entry to the country.

The incident reported Sunday by Channel 2 was the second of its kind in the past year.

In response, a Foreign Ministry official said that after the previous incident, Jordan explained said it was a one-off mistake by border officials, and that regulations would be clarified. The Foreign Ministry diplomat told Channel 2 that Jerusalem was seeking clarification for the incident.

Last December Jordan’s border guards prevented an Israeli family from crossing into the Hashemite Kingdom because the husband and sons were wearing kippot, according to the wife.

Tamar Gvirtz-Hayardeni said she, her husband and their three children were trying to cross the Israel-Jordan border at Eilat for a short trip when they were detained and finally prevented from entry completely because the males in her family were wearing traditional Jewish headgear.

At one point, she said, one of the Jordanian officials took their kippot away from them without explanation.

Despite clarifying to border guards that they did not intend to wear the kippot once they had crossed the border, they were told that it was not permitted to enter Jordan with “Jewish items.”

“The Jordanians may want Israelis, but they don’t want Jews,” Gvirtz-Hayardeni wrote in a Facebook post.

Tamar Gvirtz-Hayardeni (Facebook)
Tamar Gvirtz-Hayardeni (Facebook)

A Channel 2 report said another Israeli Jew, traveling with his tefillin, was also turned away at the border crossing.

Gvirtz-Hayardeni said she was told by her Jordanian tour guide that “he had heard about something like this once before, when some ultra-Orthodox were given a hard time. But that’s it. And even they were allowed to enter.”

הגענו היום, הורים ושלושה ילדים, למסוף ערבה, בדרכנו לחופשה בירדן. התכוננו היטב עם מלון משולם מראש ונהג מונית ירדני, אלא…

Posted by Tamar Gvirtz-Hayardeni on Wednesday, December 9, 2015

In the end the family chose to give up on Jordan and vacation in Eilat. “The children said they were not interested; they felt that they were not wanted in Jordan as Jews, which is in fact what we all felt. That was the key point in this whole story,” she said.

Israeli deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely reportedly sought clarification from the Jordanian authorities. The Foreign Ministry said there was no justification for the treatment the family received.

Contacted by The Times of Israel, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry on refused to comment on the incident.

Crossing from Jordan into Israel at the Wadi Arava border crossing (photo credit: CC BY Pawel Ryszawa/Wikipedia)
Crossing from Jordan into Israel at the Wadi Arava border crossing (photo credit: CC BY Pawel Ryszawa/Wikipedia)
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